Letter to Editor: Parsippany Waterview Rezoning Public Hearing

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lettersDear Editor:

On February 11, 2013, the Parsippany Planning Board will have its last public meeting on the issue of the proposed rezoning of the 27-acre woodland property at the corner of Intervale Road and Route 46 West.

Why is this important to all Parsippany and Mountain Lakes residents?  This wooded property forms one of the major entrances to our lovely towns which sets us apart from most other areas in Northern New Jersey.  It feels like you are entering an environmentally beautiful oasis.  The developer’s rezoning proposal would drastically change this reality.  The developer is proposing the tear down the entire woods and pave over 75% of the 27 acres with parking lots for more than 1,100 parking spaces, a 137,000 sq. foot (50 foot high) discount department store building (rumored to be a Target), a 40,000 sq. foot supermarket (said to be a contingent lease with Whole Foods), and a13,000 sq. foot “drive through” restaurant.  Behind this strip mall, would be a retainer wall, higher than the one in Boonton behind Walmart, and up on the hill would be the highest density townhouses ever created in Parsippany. These 72 3-story-tall units would be so tightly packed that it appears a fire engine can’t pass through the streets.

This property is the last remaining undeveloped piece of land of the 132-acre tract of land called “Waterview” that is zoned for “Planned Office Development” (POD) and provides for 200 foot buffer zones of woodlands to separate the developed areas from residential areas.  The reason this is so alarming is because the developer wants to create a very novel type of rezoning called an “Overlay” which would basically give the developer the option to either keep the original POD zoning for office construction or apply a second type of Mixed Commerical & Residential zoning.  What it really wants is to build a commercial zone.

Even worse, the proposed rezoning ordinance is highly ambiguous.  It may actually apply to the entire 132-acre tract of land at “Waterview” and not just the 27-acre piece of land on the corner of Intervale Road.

What does this mean for the future of Parsippany and Mountain Lakes if the developer gets its rezoning?  Route 46 will have two additional lanes to accommodate heavy increased traffic in and out of this strip mall and dense residential zone.  The water recharge area of the woodlands directly above our aquifer will likely be permanently destroyed.  Both Parsippany and Mountain Lakes are already under tight water restrictions and have inadequate water supplies to serve our existing communities.  There will be light, noise, and traffic pollution.  Intervale Road and Forest Drive will become traffic throughways. The developer seeks to eliminate water wellhead protection on this land.  This could potentially pave the way for permitting the developer to build gas stations and dry cleaners that would pollute the wellhead protected zones on the land.  Worst of all, this entire area of Parsippany along Route 46 will likely become a strip mall wasteland if the developer decides to try and apply this rezoning to the entire 132 acres of office building and woodland property.  There will be no more elegant and peaceful surroundings for Mountain Lakes or Parsippany.  We will become another New Jersey commercial disaster.

The grassroots organizers of the opposition to this rezoning urge everyone, family, kids, neighbors, friends, to show up at the last Parsippany Planning Board Meeting, Monday, February 11, at 7:30PM, Parsippany High School, 309 Baldwin Road.  Just show up.  Make your voice known by simply showing up.  We must stop them now and nip this thing in the bud before it gets approved.  This affects all of us.  For more info on how you can donate funds and/or volunteer to help, go to www.DontRezoneWaterview.com.

Nancy du Tertre
Mountain Lakes

Editors Note:  This is the last public hearing for the Planning Board on this issue, if the public questioning is concluded.  The Planning Board will decide if it will recommend to the Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council to adopt an overlay ordinance  to change the POD (Planned Office Development) zoning to mixed retail and residential for entire tract of 132 acres in the Waterview complex.  The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council can adopt an ordinance or deny the request.  If they adopt an ordinance, then the applicant will have to submit plans to the Planning Board, but the applicant will not need to seek any variances and the Planning Board will have no option but to approve the actual development plans.

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